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Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 16. Oktober 2014

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  • Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation
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“Every day of our lives, our mind diverts into private thoughts—wishful dreams of our future, regrets and ruminations over what went wrong yesterday, nervous anticipation about tomorrow. Gabriele Oettingen’s book is the single best guide to the power and consequence of these private thoughts. It will teach you nothing less than how to think better.”
PO BRONSON, coauthor of Nurtureshock and Top Dog

“How do you get from dreaming to doing? This exciting and important book shows you how to turn your dreams into reality. You'll be surprised at how thoroughly it overturns conventional wisdom.”
CAROL S. DWECK, Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and author of Mindset

“Gabriele Oettingen presents a well-written thought-provoking evidence-based self-help book. Hers is an intriguing approach to overcoming life challenges at all ages. It is a worthy read.”
JAMES JOSEPH HECKMAN, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics

“I was once asked by educators to identify the single most effective intervention for improving self-control. Every scientist I spoke to referred me to the work summarized here—masterfully and with incomparable insight and warmth. Read this brilliant book and then go out and do what Gabriele Oettingen recommends. It will change the way you think about making your dreams come true.”
ANGELA DUCKWORTH, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, and 2013 MacArthur Fellow

“Want to quit smoking, lose weight, get better grades, sustain healthier relationships, or negotiate effectively? Then this easy-to-read book, based on twenty-plus years of empirical research, is for you. Setting a goal, visualizing the obstacles, and then charting a path sounds so straightforward—but guess what? It works!”
GARY LATHAM, Secretary of State Professor of Organizational Effectiveness at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

“Gabriele Oettingen, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of motivation, presents a forceful, scientifically based challenge to the ‘power of positive thinking.’ This eminently practical book is a much needed and welcome corrective.”
LAURENCE STEINBERG, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Temple University, and author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

“Gabriele Oettingen approaches the subject of positive thinking with a scientist’s passionate curiosity. She is open to anything she might find and truly seeks to discover what works—and what doesn’t. What she found will surprise you, as it did me, and will make you eager to try her methods.”
FLORIAN HENCKEL VON DONNERSMARCK, writer, director (The Lives of Others; The Tourist), and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Gabriele Oettingen is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg and the author of more than a hundred articles and book chapters on the effects of future thought on cognition, emotion, and behavior. She lives in New York City and in Hamburg, Germany.

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Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Many other books are good in describing a problem but fail to propose solutions to solve the problem. This book is different. It explains research investigating the problematic effects of positive thinking but then suggests how one can turn one’s positive thoughts into effective goal pursuit. And most importantly, the suggested way to do this is not only a mere suggestion out of the blue but a strategy that was tested in lots and lots of studies. The scientific work behind this strategy is impressive. What I enjoyed during reading, were the short paragraphs that lead the reader through little mental exercises and that instruct you to try the WOOP strategy for your own life. So read this book. It really makes you think.
Kommentar 7 von 7 haben dies hilfreich gefunden. War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich? Ja Nein Feedback senden...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
After I found a website concerning this idea I decided to deep deeper into the material. This book allowed me to understand better the method and also shows the studies on which the method is based. Of particular interest were the graphs of probability of achieving the goal. The book fulfilled all my expectations about the book therefore the rating is 5 stars.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) HASH(0x96167420) von 5 Sternen 34 Rezensionen
63 von 68 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x95f550a8) von 5 Sternen 5-star content, 3-star writing 16. November 2014
Von Terni Paolo - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This book is a summary of Gabriele Oettingen's work. For almost 25 years, she has been studying how having positive fantasies about the future affects goal achievement
In this book, she introduces MCII (Mental Contrasting with Implementation Intention), now re-branded as WOOP (Wish Outcome Obstacle Plan), to the general public.
WOOP is an evidence-based tool for enhancing goal achievement and goal striving. Translated: if you have an attainable wish that you want to turn into reality, use WOOP. It works.
Reading this book you will learn a simple yet powerful, easy-to-apply tool to help you achieve your goals in any domains.
As some other reviewer noted, authors often describe a problem, but rarely they offer a practical solution. Gabriele Oettingen does.

Kudos then to Prof Oettingen for sharing her insights in a book, after publishing dozens of peer-reviewed papers in psychology journals. If the author's scientific credentials are impeccable, not so much the book.
Below is a list of reasons why I would rate it a a 3-star piece of work:
- It feels too long, and at times it is repetitive.
- It reads like a literature review of her papers, with very little added; it is too dry.
- There are grammatical errors (e.g., p. 158: "In one study of high school and middle school students lead [sic] by...").
- The references the author uses to make her points are questionable. For example: "The worship of optimism is not of recent vintage, nor is it uniquely American. It's a theme in world literature, from Marcus Aurelius ("dwell on the beauty of life") to...". Marcus Aurelius, the Stoic, an optimist?!?? Another example: "Companies spend millions on executive coaching... with little systematic research that coaching works" (p.90). The reference linked to this statement is from 2003, since then several studies and meta-analyses have been published.
- Last but not least, the book is all about Oettingen. In itself that is not bad, but it needs to be balanced by introducing other characters and it needs to avoid a narrative centered on the author vs. the "establishment".
a) Regarding the former, even though she acknowledges in the introduction that she is indebted to many, her narrative rarely introduces other researchers and their teams (which would have made for a more engaging story, and it is something common in many pop psych books). E.g., after going on for more than a page describing an experiment she led, the author then says: "a similar experiment with fifth graders from low-income backgrounds in the United States turned up the same results". That is interesting! But who did the experiment? Where? How?
B) Regarding the latter, on p.10, after describing her counter-intuitive results in her first published paper, Oettingen writes: "I published that study back in 1991, and no, it didn't suddenly cause people either in psychology or the wider world to take a more nuanced look at optimism. It didn't do much of anything because the prevailing belief in the power of optimism was just too strong". Well, I would say it did not do much of anything because it was just one study with a very small sample (25 subjects overall).
And I could go on and on...

To sum it all up:
- if you never heard of the work of Gabriele Oettingen, or if you believe in the power of positive thinking, do yourself a favor and buy this book. You will learn some very useful life skills.
- if, however, you know about her work or if you are looking for an engaging book about psychology, maybe this is not for you.
81 von 90 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x95f552f4) von 5 Sternen Deep thinking about positive thinking 16. Oktober 2014
Von Duff McDuffee - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A few years back, personal development author and speaker James Arthur Ray literally baked three people to death in Sedona Arizona under a plastic tarp that he called a “sweat lodge.” Ray encouraged his followers to stay in the deadly heat, invoking mind-over-matter through the power of positive thinking.

Ray’s homicides are a recent and dramatic example of the harm some forms of positive thinking can do. But Americans, ever the optimists, would like to compartmentalize this kind of event as an extreme case and continue along with our belief in our ever-upward march towards Awesomeness.

Ray was featured in the popular “movie-mercial” The Secret as one of the teachers of a supposedly esoteric truth that all famous and successful people know: that fantasizing about one’s desired outcomes will bring them about, either by psychological means through directing attention and increasing motivation, or by magickal causes that change the very fabric of Reality through directed intention.

These claims are testable and potentially even falsifiable, thus meeting the basic criteria for a scientific claim according to the late philosopher of science Karl Popper. Do positive fantasies about the future truly increase chances of success?

One researcher has championed this line of testing for several decades now, despite her research still being fairly unknown. This wonderful book is the first from Professor Oettingen, but hopefully not the last, written for a popular audience but thankfully without dumbing down the science.

In this important book, Oettingen begins with multiple examples from her research showing that positive fantasies - either spontaneously or purposely generated - ultimately backfire by feeling like you’ve already achieved the outcome and thus don’t need to get energized to actually DO anything.

Personal development authors, bloggers, and gurus will undoubtedly miss the key points of this important research for two reasons:

1. It violates their deeply-held ideology about personal development and change.
2. It is subtle and contextual, not easily packaged into a simplistic motto.

To point #1: It is well known from previous research that high positive expectations of future success are correlated with actual success. Oettingen’s research also confirms this. But personal development authors have taken this to mean that we can increase our chances of success by visualizing (fantasizing) about future outcomes as if they are already here, or verbally affirming one’s outcome in the present tense. Professor Oettingen’s research shows however that positive expectations (beliefs about the future) are completely different than positive fantasies (free-floating idealized thoughts about the future).

Everybody knows that there is a big difference between thinking a thought and believing that it is true. With regards to desired futures, we can think a thought and either evaluate it for how likely we think it is to come true, or we can fail to do that evaluation. Positive expectations involve our belief that things are likely to turn out well, whereas positive fantasies are just fantasies - we don’t necessarily reality-check them to see if they are true or false. Positive fantasies are just things we’d like to have happen, but we may or may not actually believe they are possible. Often times we haven’t even thought about what it would take to put that into action. Books like The Secret actively dissuade people from engaging in that reality-checking or planning process, claiming that to do so will interfere with either the unconscious mechanisms or magickal forces which are conspiring right now to make your wishes into reality. Yet Oettingen’s research is clear - fantasies backfire when pursuing challenging goals by *reducing* motivation to act and overcome obstacles.

To point #2: Oettingen is a careful scientist, not an ideologue. She points out already in chapter 2 that there are relevant contexts in which positive fantasies of the future are a useful resource. (As we say in NLP, “every behavior is useful in some context.”) In particular, when facing a situation you can do nothing actively about, fantasizing can help to generate a patient resolve as well as take some of the sting out of the experience of powerlessness. Fantasizing can also help when the outcome only involves noticing something and not actively working on it, for it can help to direct attention, as in the example of a thirsty person in the desert fantasizing about finding water.

There are also many contexts in which positive fantasizing backfires horribly. Ultimately Oettingen's mental contrasting approach involves *utilizing* fantasies by indulging in them as the first step, then contrasting them with “what stops you?” In other words, thinking first about a desired outcome, then obstacles that stand in the way, in order to generate energy to navigate those obstacles.

Even then, Oettingen’s “WOOP” formula (Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan) will only help if the outcome is assessed as highly feasible. If the outcome is seen to be unrealistic, contrasting will *decrease* motivation…which itself can be useful for “goal disengagement” - i.e. giving up on hopeless outcomes in order to free up energy for something more realistic. (The one case in which WOOP probably won’t do much either way is when you assess the likelihood of your outcome to be a 50/50 coin flip.)

Personally, I read a number of the journal articles Prof Oettingen so generously posted on her page on the NYU Psych department website before this book was in print. It was a difficult task, but I learned a lot and this research significantly impacted my thinking about goal pursuit and personal development. Usually the popular version of the research is so watered down that I can’t in good conscience recommend the popular book, but in this case this book is both readable and doesn’t cut corners in reporting on the science.

I highly recommend this important work, and hope that it can make a small dent in making our world a little more wise when it comes to thinking about thinking. Cut through the “woo woo” of New Age garbage like The Secret and The Success Principles and WOOP up a realistic plan for overcoming the inevitable obstacles in the way of your dreams instead. You’ll be glad you did.

Note: I read this book on Kindle, and found it to be a very well-formatted Kindle book with a good Table of Contents, footnotes, sidebars and images.
29 von 32 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x95f552b8) von 5 Sternen this is a winner! 20. Oktober 2014
Von Armand Kruger, good news junkie - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A most practical, credible and useful book in the field of positive psychology that I have read this year. As a professional psychologist I have nothing but compliments for this work of Oettingen! Why?
Her research is solid, and extensive. In a very respectful, yet thorough, manner she has tested the reigning concept of optimism and find it is coming short of its promise. Yes, people need it, and for some it gives them reason to continue under dire circumstances, however people stay the same, because "dreamers are not often doers." This highlights the one missing component in optimism: the doing part energised by optimism. In the same way her exploration of positive fantasies is excellent: when do we do them "successfully" and what is needed to go from dreaming to action.
She offers practical, sometimes totally counterintuitive, options for being practical and achieving goals from our daydreams. The last sentence in her introduction: "all from a single, counterintuitive question: What holds you back from realizing your dreams?" is the challenge she set herself, and us the reader.
The method, called "mental contrasting" is offered clearly and reliably. She has researched this in multiple contexts, so it is not just another "name" not validated by good research. Mental contrasting is the element that completes the formula: optimism-action-results, or realizing the focus of your optimism. Of course, there is her simple and powerful acronym W-O-O-P that makes it just so easy to remember the core of the method, and in itself is a formula for success.
A good work, that reads comfortably even though there are solid research and plenty of references for the person hungry for the back-story. The references are placed outside of the scope of the main reading, but of course easily accessible through the electronic link of the kindle version.
I plan to use the ideas of Dr. Oettingen not just as a coaching tool for my one-on-one work, but also for group work when I facilitate strategy or optimizing team-functioning.
27 von 30 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x95f555ac) von 5 Sternen The art of changing your life 17. Oktober 2014
Von Kevin Dammfeld - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
Being interested in motivational psychology for a while now, I decided to give „Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation“ by Gabriele Oettingen a try.

On 240 pages, the book gives an overview over the research of psychologist Gabriele Oettingen, starting from her first studies 20 years ago up to her present work. In the book, Gabriele Oettingen explains why positive thinking alone won't make you reach your goals. Instead, you need a combination of both imagining a positive future and contrasting this future with your present reality. Gabriele Oettingen introduces a scientifically proven four-step process called WOOP. WOOP, which stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, and Plan, is a self-regulatory strategy. It helps you to identify and overcome the obstacles which hold you back from fulfilling your wishes.

The book is very well-written, easy to understand and I really enjoyed reading it. The methods of Gabriele Oettingen seem so simple, but they really work and it amazes me how easily you can implement them in your everyday life. The book gives a lot of examples for various life domains (e.g., health domain, academic domain, interpersonal domain) and describes the experiences and scientific results of 20 years of research.

I would recommend this great book not only to people who are interested in motivational psychology, but to everyone who wants to make a change in life.
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x95f55ab0) von 5 Sternen Rethinking Positive Thinking Is One of The Best Self Improvement Tools To Ever Come Along 28. Januar 2015
Von Hesso - Veröffentlicht auf
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Book reviews are an odd part of human behavior. Both the writer and reader suppose that there's something about the content that they can determine to be outside their bias. Perhaps this is true of other behaviors too but it just seems prevalent with book reviews.

So why not spare you the credentials I may possess to review this book? Why not forego all the background information that would lend credence to this review? The people who will find this book useful would probably read it anyway, those close-minded individuals most likely won't even make this far to order in the first place.

"Rethinking Positive Thinking" is probably one of the best self-improvement tools to come about thus far. It's unfortunate that it has to compete with so much non-evidenced based material. And there are some who are trying to confirm this and initially believe that around 80% of all self-help books are not tethered to any evidence and as much as 95% of internet based self-help have no evidence whatsoever to back it up. But then, that's trying provide "credence" for this book isn't it?

I could probably bypass the first two-thirds of the book which is support for WOOP, but I'm glad I didn't. For me, it helps to create a knowledge base to draw on once I started using the WOOP method. It solidifies how to use it for the most part by giving examples of what worked and what did not. The last third of the book is the how-to, fortifying the WOOP method and emphasizing not to rearrange the order of doing "wish/outcome/obstacle/plan" (WOOP).

Here's my thought - Most people have wasted a LOT of time on trying to find out more about themselves and their place in life. Only to realize a year later, a decade later. . . a lifetime later, that they either dropped the method or it simply fizzled out. WOOP is the real deal. Always allowing you to re-tweak your ideas (wishes/dreams) and then go at it again. I have followed a lot of stuff and this is the first one that I'v used and have had immediate and successful results. And that's about all you have to know.
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